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Testing Services

IPI is an independent laboratory that provides both standardized and custom independent research for corporate, governmental, or non-profit sponsors. Below are links to descriptions and pricing for some of our most common research requests. If your need is not described, contact us, and we may be able to develop a program to meet your specific needs. All results of sponsored research and testing are confidential.

Testing Services

Photo-storage and Framing Materials Evaluations
(ISO 18902)

NOTE: Results expire! Results are valid for the specific lot of product tested until any date. Results are also valid for subsequent lots produced within one year (unless the formulation or any component supplier has changed).

Major Revision to ISO 18902 Imaging materials — Processed imaging materials — Albums, framing and storage materials

This standard was created to help users select photo-safe enclosures and to provide guidance to manufacturers on how to make photo-safe products. In 2011, the ISO committee on Physical Properties and Permanence of Imaging Materials initiated a major revision of ISO 18902:2007. This revision, published in 2013, made the document more user-friendly for both manufacturers and cultural institutions while maintaining the quality of output from the requirements. The key improvements are discussed in the article below and include: changes in scope, changes in terms and definitions, the elimination of redundant tests, the elimination of unspecified or unverifiable requirements, the elimination of irrelevant, intermittent, or incomplete information, and the development of a reporting method.

Key Components of the Recent Major Revision of ISO 18902 Imaging Materials – Processed Imaging Materials – Albums, Framing and Storage Materials (PDF)

What is photo-safe?

Photographs, films and prints must be housed only with materials that are inert and will not interact with them chemically. Materials that are not inert can cause or accelerate the occurrence of fade, yellowing, silver mirroring or brittleness among other types of chemical damage.
The International Standard, ISO 18902, addresses how to select inert enclosures. The term enclosures refers to photo-storage and display materials. These include paper and paper-board, plastics, metals, writing instruments, adhesives, tapes, labeling materials, stamping ink, as well as framing and glazing materials. Materials that comply with this Standard are considered photo-safe.
ISO 18902 contains all the tests and additional requirements that the different types of materials must comply with in order to be photo-safe. Requirements vary depending on the type of material in question (paper, plastic, adhesive, etc.). So, for example, adhesives must pass the Photographic Activity Test (PAT), be acid-free and not be rubber-based; while paper must pass the PAT, be acid-free, have 2% alkali reserve, be lignin-free and, if colored, its colorants must not bleed in water. Only materials that meet all the specifications of this International Standard can be considered photo-safe. Materials that only pass the pH requirements or only pass the PAT are not necessarily photo-safe.
It must be noted that the term photo-safe refers only to chemical stability of a material and does not imply that the material will not interact physically with a photograph causing damage such as abrasion, bends or tears.

For a complete understanding of photo-safe specifications you can purchase the standard at

Photo-safe Reference Guide

Photo-storage, Display, & Labeling Materials - A Guide to ISO 18902 “Photo-safe” Testing Photo-storage, Display, & Labeling Materials -  A Guide to ISO 18902 “Photo-safe” Testing

This guide includes a description of the standard’s requirements to meet the “photo-safe” designation depending on material type (paper, plastic, adhesive, etc.), as well as an illustration depicting which elements of a photograph are most likely affected by harmful components (reactants) in photo storage, display, and labeling materials, and which tests are necessary to detect each of these reactants.
Download PDF (English) | Download PDF (Spanish) | Download PDF (Portuguese)